“The best black forest cake I ever had,” according to food blogger Chomp Dallas.
Black Forest Cake is the king of German cakes, in my opinion. Contrary to popular belief, German Chocolate Cake is not German. Repeat after me: German Chocolate Cake is not German. It was invented by the German Chocolate brand, named after the founder. So it could be called Watson Chocolate Cake just as easily. If you want a chocolate cake to celebrate Germany, it’s got be Black Forest Cake, which is why I served this killer cake at Disney Dinners: Snow White.
Photos courtesy of Mary Anita Batchellor Photography.
The Rose Table is in no way affiliated with The Walt Disney Company.
An authentic Black Forest Cake uses a chocolate sponge cake but honestly, I don’t think they’re better than this. I used my favorite dark chocolate cake recipe, mainly because sponge cakes use so many pans and I’m very lazy about dishes, and it was divine. In fact, several of my guests said that it was the best Black Forest Cake they’ve ever had.
Layers of kirsch-soaked cherries on top of pillowy almond whipped cream nestle on layers of my favorite dark chocolate cake that’s been brushed with a kirsch-simple syrup. It’s moist and should be decadent but everyone at my Snow White dinner party commented on how incredibly light it felt for dessert.
American Black Forest Cakes often use maraschino cherries but I use real black cherries for mine. You’ll want to soak the cherries the night before. I found fabulous black cherries in the frozen section of my store, threw them in the fridge the day before the party, tossed them with kirsch before I went to bed, and baked and assembled the cake the next morning.
Instead of the traditional rosettes and cherries on top, I topped mine with an edible chocolate forest to have some whimsical fun with the Black Forest theme. All of my guests got a chocolate tree with their slice of cake and a Hidden Mickey made out of cherries on the plate.
When you glance at this recipe, it’s one of the longer ones I have on my website but rest assured: this is not complicated and if you’re a baker, you probably have most of the items in your kitchen already except the cherries and kirsch. It’s not a different cake at all.
Because my homemade whipped cream uses powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar, it keeps for days. When testing, I ate this cake four days after I made it and the whipped cream was still fantastic. I will say though, this is best enjoyed the day you bake it. I hope you get rave reviews from your loved ones like I got at Snow White!
Black Forest Cake (Schwarzwälderkirschtorte)
For the cherries (to be started the night before):
3 cups pitted frozen black cherries
1/4 cup Kirsch (cherry liquor; could substitute cherry brandy)
For the cake:
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup dark cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup 1% milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
For the cherry syrup:
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup Kirsch, reserved from cherries
For the whipped cream:
3 cups whipping cream
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp almond extract
4 oz dark chocolate bar
Additional chocolate for shaving
For the cherries:
- Take black cherries out of freezer and let thaw in the fridge for a couple of hours. Toss cherries with 1/4 cup Kirsch (cherry liqueur) or cherry brandy. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
To bake the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 8″ cake pans.
- Combine sugar, flour, dark cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large mixing bowl. Add eggs one at a time and mix until incorporated. Add milk, oil and vanilla all at once and beat on medium speed of mixer about two minutes. Stir in the boiling water. Divide batter into prepared pans.
- Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.
To make the syrup:
- Stir together water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for one minute and remove from heat. (Sugar should be completely dissolved and liquid clear.)
- Strain cherries from Kirsch. Set cherries aside and stir in 1/4 cup of the Kirsch/cherry liquid. Cool completely.
To make the whipped cream:
- Whip heavy cream in a chilled metal bowl with a metal whisk until soft peaks form.
- Add powdered sugar and almond extract and whip until stiff peaks form.
To make the chocolate trees:
- Slowly melt 4 oz semisweet chocolate, stirring every 10-15 seconds.
- Spoon into ziplock bag and cut one corner. Work the chocolate down to that corner and squeeze out in free form on wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Plan on 1 oz per tree, piping the base quite thick.
- Pop in the fridge for 15-20 minutes until firm.
- Place first cake layer on plate and poke with a fork or skewer. Generously brush on cherry simple syrup.
- Top with whipped cream and cherries. Repeat with remaining layers.
- Decorate with shaved dark chocolate and chocolate trees.